Calculation of lifetime lung cancer risks associated with radon exposure, based on various models and exposure scenarios.
The risk of lung cancer mortality up to 75 years of age due to radon exposure has been estimated for both male and female continuing, ex- and never-smokers, based on various radon risk models and exposure scenarios. We used risk models derived from (i) the BEIR VI analysis of cohorts of radon-exposed miners, (ii) cohort and nested case-control analyses of a European cohort of uranium miners and (iii) the joint analysis of European residential radon case-control studies. Estimates of the lifetime lung cancer risk due to radon varied between these models by just over a factor of 2 and risk estimates based on models from analyses of European uranium miners exposed at comparatively low rates and of people exposed to radon in homes were broadly compatible. For a given smoking category, there was not much difference in lifetime lung cancer risk between males and females. The estimated lifetime risk of radon-induced lung cancer for exposure to a concentration of 200 Bq m-3 was in the range 2.98-6.55% for male continuing smokers and 0.19-0.42% for male never-smokers, depending on the model used and assuming a multiplicative relationship for the joint effect of radon and smoking. Stopping smoking at age 50 years decreases the lifetime risk due to radon by around a half relative to continuing smoking, but the risk for ex-smokers remains about a factor of 5-7 higher than that for never-smokers. Under a sub-multiplicative model for the joint effect of radon and smoking, the lifetime risk of radon-induced lung cancer was still estimated to be substantially higher for continuing smokers than for never smokers. Radon mitigation-used to reduce radon concentrations at homes-can also have a substantial impact on lung cancer risk, even for persons in their 50 s; for each of continuing smokers, ex-smokers and never-smokers, radon mitigation at age 50 would lower the lifetime risk of radon-induced lung cancer by about one-third. To maximise risk reductions, smokers in high-radon homes should both stop smoking and remediate their homes.
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